Having been closed since ‘lockdown’ began in March, Ruddington’s Framework Knitters’ Museum is reopening on Wednesday July 29th.
During closure, the team has been developing a more personal and ‘socially distanced’ visitor experience which it’s promised will be fun, interesting and safe. From this date, anyone visiting will be able to book the whole site for two hours to explore it with their family or social bubble.
To make the tour as safe as possible, visitors will be asked to wear (knitted) cotton gloves as they explore the workers’ cottages and collections at the Chapel Street based heritage attraction. Staff will be wearing gloves and high tech knitted masks and, between each group’s visit, the site will be cleaned thoroughly – and hand sanitiser will be available.
As before, every visitor will have the opportunity to knit their own souvenir on an antique circular knitting machine – which they are encouraged to take home with them and to share photographs with the museum on social media. Families will be able to discover how knitters’ families lived whilst younger visitors can try out the ‘Mouse Hunt’ to uncover clues about the children that lived in Ruddington 150 years ago. Recent research has revealed that children worked from as young as 6 to help their parents make a living.
In the historic workshops, visitors can still see the centuries-old knitting frames in action with the Frame Demonstrator showing just how our ancestors made garments for everyone from WW1 veterans to the King himself. You’ll be able to appreciate just how noisy, hot and tiring a 14 hour shift would have been from a safe distance – but without having to knit a stitch yourself!
The decision by trustees to allow visitors back inside the historic premises coincides with the Framework Knitters’ Museum being awarded a further £234,500 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and £82,952 from FCC Communities Foundation for its current project called ‘A Right Good Yarn’. The latter is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects through the ‘Landfill Communities Fund’.
As the museum approaches its 50th anniversary, this project will expand the museum into adjacent Gunn Cottage over the next two years and redevelop parts of the existing space. New displays and exhibitions will be added along with an improved visitor route connecting the three areas and offering improved retail and catering facilities.
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says: “We’re incredibly pleased to support the Framework Knitters’ Museum to expand their offer to visitors to mark their 50th anniversary. It’s also fantastic news that they are now able to reopen the Museum this month following the latest government guidelines, and can progress with providing families in Nottingham a day out to remember.”
The museum’s Manager and Curator, Jim Grevatte, adds: “The Framework Knitters Museum is a unique, surviving example of a 19th century framework knitters’ yard, which tells the story of framework knitting from inception to obsolescence. ‘A Right Good Yarn’ marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in our fifty year history as a museum – and we’re keen to get the local community involved.”
For the latest news on this expansion project you can follow their social media and visit the museum’s website at www.frameworkknittersmuseum.org.uk. That’s also where you can book a two hour slot to visit the Ruddington heritage attraction on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 29th July 2020 onwards.